Epilepsy Neurophysiology

Surgical treatment for focal epilepsy can only be effective if the brain areas that generate seizures can be identified precisely.  Traditionally, we have assumed that seizing neurons are located at the places where we see the unique EEG marker of seizures (the “epileptiform discharge”).  Instead, the epileptiform discharge may be produced by a local inhibitory response to the seizure, which is happening elsewhere.  This inhibitory response is capable of distorting the way a seizure appears in EEG recordings, making it difficult to determine which brain areas need to be resected in order to control seizures. Our goal is to learn how to use clinical EEG features, such as high frequency oscillations, to disentangle the inhibitory effects of seizures from the activity of the neurons that are causing them, to characterize core seizure areas and spread patterns, and to study how seizure core activity can affect surrounding brain.

Research Area: Epilepsy

Research Focus: Neural activity underlying human seizures, mechanisms of seizure initiation and spread

Funding: R01 NS084142 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH)

Lab Members: Catherine Schevon, MD, PhD (PI); Elliot Smith, PhD (Postdoctoral Fellow); Shennan Weiss (Neurology Resident); Robert Connors (Clinical Epilepsy Fellow)